August 26, 2007

Florence: A Design in Habu Cotton Gima

Greetings, everyone! Vanessa invited me to join this knitalong, because I recently completed a top in Habu Cotton Gima. It's called Florence, and this is what it looks like:

There are a bunch more pictures of it and a blog round-up entry here.

I had fun working with the Habu Cotton Gima for this project. It was tricky to figure out what to make with the yarn, for a number of reasons. First, it looks quite different when you knit it than it looks after it's been washed. (I should point out that the label says to hand wash and air dry the yarn, but it's cotton, so I decided to machine wash and dry. You'd probably get different results if you washed by hand, but I'm happy with how the yarn softens and evens out when it's machine washed and dried.) Here's a picture of a piece that's half blocked and half unblocked:

The other difficulty I encountered was that the fabric made by the yarn is very transformable. When I knit several inches to the 17" width and washed and dried the piece, I found that I could make the swatch be, say, 15" wide and 6" tall, or I could make it 20" wide and 4" tall, and so on. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to figure out what gauge the yarn *wanted* to be, so that the top would always be transforming as I wore it. As it turns out, the larger the size of the piece you knit, the less transformation effect you get from the yarn. This was a relief!

After flirting with a knit/purl leaf pattern (total disaster) and with basketweave stitch (looks good, but decided against it), I settled on a simple stockinette top with seed stitch edgings and a deep-V neckline with a gather at its base. It's sized for a 34" bust. It has a 31" waist, and it widens to 40" at the bottom, where it also has side vents. I originally planned to have short cap sleeves, but the Habu fabric was so floaty and insubstantial that I decided it would look better with longer, floatier sleeves.

I'm going to make the pattern available for free sometime next month -- I'm still working out the various sizes and so forth. I'm also planning to make another top in some green Cotton Gima for my sister-in-law using a different pattern of my own making. It may be a while before I get going on that, but I'll post about it when I do.

Oh, and I have 2.5 skeins of Cotton Gima leftover from this project that I don't think I'll ever use. If anyone has leftovers they'd like to swap, it would be fun to try out a different yarn. I think mine are worth about $13-14, so an equivalent swap (or somewhere in the neighborhood) would be great.


Ulli said...

quite amazing the difference between the blocked and unblocked piece. the sweater looks very airy and light.
looking forward to see your second sweater made from this yarn.

Vanessa said...

Thanks for sharing with us Ruth :)

lomester said...

I really love the drape on this.